Tiananmen Square 天安门广场 and Forbidden City 故宮

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On our last day at Beijing, it was a hectic day as we planned to visit a few places before we took our flight back at close to midnight. Our hotel is near to Beijing  National Stadium 鸟巢, it is a grand and beautiful stadium that was built for the Beijing Olympics.

The stadium during the day
The stadium during the night

Our itinerary include visiting the Tiananmen Square 天安门广场 as our first stop. It is one of the world’s largest city square at the centre of Beijing.

When we  reached there, we saw massive number of people queuing up early in the morning at the square.
Look at the crowd! We asked the tourist guide what are the people queuing for? She said that these people are queuing up to go into the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong 毛主席紀念堂. Everyday tons and tons of people will queue for hours to go inside the Mausoleum to pay tribute to him.
This is National Museum of China 中国国家博物馆 on the east side of the Square. According to our guide, she said that admission is free. We don’t have the time to go into the museum to have a look, in future if we come back to Beijing, I would like to visit the museum and learn more about Chinese history.
Our second stop, the Forbidden City or Forbidden Palace  故宮 or  which is the Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. It is within walking distance from the Tiananmen Square.
The front view of the Palace
The traffic control police directing the traffic infront of the Palace
Beijing bus
Beijing police cars
The Palace looks so grand as we were walking towards it
Walking towards the entrance of the Palace
Huge portrait of Mao Zedong 毛泽东 is hung at the entrance and every year before 1 October, it will be replaced with a new one. 1 October is the national day of China.
Various uniform police officers stationed at the Palace.
Soldiers patrolling the ground
Large totem poles outside the entrance of the Palace.
This is the Meridian Gate 午门. The center arch was reserved for the Emperor alone and the Empress could only enter it once on the day of her wedding and the top three scholars after the success of their triennial civil service examinations. All other officials and servants had to use the four side arches.
The Hall of Supreme Harmony 太和殿. It is the ceremonial center of Imperial power, and the largest surviving wooden structure in China.
According to feng shui, the lions need to be in the correct placement in order to ensure beneficial effect. The male is placed on the left and the female on the right. So when looking at the entrance from outside the building, facing the lions, the male lion with the ball is on the right, and the female with the cub is on the left.
The bronze crane and the turtle are a symbol of longevity.

This grain measure is placed to indicate that the Emperor designates weights and measure and unified the country.

The throne in the Hall of Preserving Harmony is smaller in scale than the Hall of Supreme Harmony. It was used for rehearsing ceremonies, and was also the site of the final stage of the Imperial examination.
This is the Palace of Heavenly Purity, or Qianqing Palace. It is the largest of the three halls of the Inner Court (the other two being the Hall of Union and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility), located at the northern end of the Forbidden City. During the Qing dynasty, the palace often served as the Emperor’s audience hall, where he held council with the Grand Council.
Pavilion at the Imperial Garden
Yan Hui Ge is a place during the Qing Dynasty where concubines were chosen.
The Forbidden City is surrounded on three sides by Imperial Garden.
This is the gate where we left the Palace.
At the four corners of the wall sit towers. These towers are the most visible parts of the palace to commoners outside the walls.

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